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Outside the Lab Profession

The Ultimate Influencer

Whether you scroll through Twitter, “like” posts on Facebook, double-tap an eye-catching image on Instagram, or comment on a colleague’s insights on LinkedIn, it’s hard to get away from social media. Some see its pervasiveness as intrusive, whereas others embrace the feeling of community social media can provide, connecting with people near and far. No matter what your feelings, though, the laboratory and social media are inextricably intertwined – and more so than you may think.

I don’t just mean in the sense that the pathology and medical laboratory science community is incredibly active on social media, engaging with colleagues and sharing knowledge. Though that is significant within the healthcare community, the connection between social media and the laboratory goes further. Social media influences what we see and hear and can shape how we think and feel about issues. Pathologists and medical laboratory scientists influence what physicians see and hear and how they understand diagnoses, which in turn influences how they treat their patients. We’ve all seen the power social media can have over people; the laboratory also has that power when it comes to improving patient care.

In fact, when it comes to patients and healthcare, the laboratory is the ultimate influencer. Physicians cannot make an accurate diagnosis or create a treatment plan without the information the laboratory provides. We touch just about every part of a patient’s healthcare journey. The knowledge we share, and the way we share it, is instrumental in providing high-quality patient care.

However, to be the empowered influencer that we know the lab can be, we must embrace our power and be pervasive in sharing our knowledge and the impact we have on patient care. Though collaborating with other departments and specialties is critical to ensuring patients receive each piece of care they need, it is up to us to step out of the laboratory to underscore just how critical our role is. Like social media, the lab should be everywhere – and, although we know it is, it’s time for everyone else to know it, too. It’s time for everyone to see us, hear us, and fully understand how the laboratory is a partner in patient care.

Being an influencer in healthcare is not without its challenges, and it’s not an easy road to travel. The laboratory is well-positioned to meet these challenges and traverse the road no matter what bumps (or, in social media-speak, dislikes and angry emojis) we encounter along the way. Harnessing the power we embody and leveraging it to improve patient care is our ultimate goal – and, as the ultimate influencer, the laboratory can be a leader and example for all.

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About the Author
E. Blair Holladay

CEO of the American Society for Clinical Pathology

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